Poor Hang Seng Bank. There it was, happy to unveil its HK$75 million package of Sars-related measures on Friday, but the media response was somewhat tepid. HSBC, Hang Seng's parent, had got there first, releasing details of its HK$100 million package the day before. Same old, same old. The bank's vice-chairman and chief executive Vincent Cheng Hoi-chuen was less than willing to answer questions as to why it chose to unveil its measures a day later: 'No comment.' But he was keen to point out that the bank had granted HK$40 million in loans under the government's Sars relief fund. A few eyebrows were raised. Really? One reporter pointed out that HSBC had granted around HK$35 million in Sars loans. That would make Hong Kong's biggest bank - and Hang Seng's parent - an underdog. A moment of silence passed as Mr Cheng contemplated the situation. 'Well, it was actually a bit over HK$30 million,' he said. 'I came up with the figure of HK$40 million only because I was rounding up to the nearest HK$10 million.' And banks of course do that all the time. WALKing TALK Joseph Yam Chi-kwong would like you to take a hike. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) chief executive is bored with the maintenance of monetary and fiscal stability. He has shunned the 'mundane' arena of monetary and fiscal issues. Instead, Mr Yam has taken a walk on the wild side. This is apparent in his regular Viewpoint column. Not a chart in sight. Lots of map references, though. Perhaps a bit wary of the entertainment value of fiscal talk, Mr Yam has dedicated the column to nature. Well, a graphic description of his favourite walks at the very least. The only link to the HKMA we could find is that the photos in this year's annual report depict pretty countryside scenes. Some of these pictures are of scenes in Sai Kung, where he enjoys a good romp. Mr Yam proceeds to give directions for prospective walkers who may want to share these scenic views. These are peppered with sage observations: 'And notice, from a distance as you start your hike,' he remarks, 'how geological movements as the basaltic magma congealed have produced a wall of bent basalt columns.' Hmmm. Must have been a slow day in the monetary world when he penned this one. The signoff is worth a mention. Hikers are reminded to 'bring along a copy of the 2002 HKMA Annual Report'. Lai See never leaves home without it. FARM CHARMERS Single women in Hong Kong, fear not. The farming district of Harrow in Australia may have the man of your dreams. And women between the ages of 20 and 40 have been invited to see the town's selection of single men for themselves. The town has organised the modestly-titled 'Beaut Blokes Weekend', The Age reports. A special Web site for the event - www.beautblokes.com.au - is dedicated to showing off a fine array of specimens. For the bargain price of a mere A$175 (about HK$893), women will have the chance to take part in some country activities such as feeding stock, a clearing sale and, of course, a football match. A kind of blind date with the added bonus of manure, livestock and lager. And remember, the shorter the nickname, the more they'll like you. POLE AXED Personal injury lawyers need to get more innovative. In the United States, attorneys recently filed papers for an Indiana man subjected to cruel and painful experiences at the hands of a couple of lap dancers during his stag night last year. They were up a pole at the time and thoughtlessly landed on his crown jewels, according to Web site rollonfriday.com. The lawsuit claims it caused 'excruciating pain' to his membrum virile and rendered him unable to perform marital duties while on his honeymoon. For unknown reasons, Mr Scheit's wife (his real name, yes) is not suing the club.